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IRE199: Why We Work

This subject guide is meant to assist students, particularly those enrolled in IRE 199, with research papers and assignments.

Welcome to Why We Work

This course is an introduction to the study of labour and employment in the era of global capitalism. Across twelve weeks, we’ll explore what ‘labour’ means, and what it has meant, from several disciplinary perspectives. Most of us will spend most of our lives at work. We are likely to spend more time with co-workers than with anyone else. We work because we must, for subsistence, but we also work because it gives our lives rhythm and structure; what work we do and how we do it helps us to define ourselves and our place in the world. Or do we? Is work an essential part of the human condition, or is it a curse? Would a world without scarcity be a world without work, or would it require a radical redefinition of the concept?